Inasmuch as Kwame Zu’s ignoble faux pas against his royal eminence Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin must be condemned in no uncertain terms, no chief has unalienable right to place a ban on a political party in his community.
“The Okyeman Traditional Council said if the NDC failed to heed to their demands, the party’s national executives, regional, constituency and ward branch executives would be banned from all official functions under the auspices of the Ofori Panin Stool, and the party shall be declared persona non grata in all the 940 towns, villages and settlements in Akyem-Abuakwa. The aggrieved chiefs also threatened to close down all NDC offices in Akyem lands until the party publicly renders an apology to Okyenhene and Okyeman publicly” (Source: DailyGuideNetwork, September 24, 2019).
Chieftaincy and chiefs are increasingly becoming an albatross around the neck of many African societies. Therefore, all and sundry must make frantic effort to run away from the humdrum of the aforesaid institution and agents. The opening sentence of J. J Rousseau’s famous book entitled “The Social Contract” reads; “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Another French philosopher, Denis Diderot stated that “it is not a human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.” Ghana’s fourth Republican constitution was framed on puritan egalitarian ideals that all men are created equal, evidenced by chapter 5, entailing the fundamental human rights such as the right to life and pursuit of happiness, freedom of association, and the like. The fundamental human rights is an entrenched clause which could only be amended via referendum. Thus, threatening to ban NDC from Kyebi is inconsequential. Kwame Zu could be treated as an individual.
Is it not commonplace to intimate that liberal democratic tenet and chieftaincy are mutually exclusive? Ardent critics of the foregoing traditional institution assert that although chieftaincy symbolizes representation and accountability, it is somewhat in contravention with liberal democracy. Chieftaincy accentuates decentralized absolutism if not despotism that endorses bifurcation of citizens as royals and non-royals, to wit citizens and the subjects. It is conspicuously exhibited by the practice wherein chiefs dance on the shoulders of their fellow human beings created by God in a palanquin. Be that as it may, every Ghanaian was born to meet chieftaincy, and thus, Nananom must be accorded the needed respect.
Our chiefs must be goad by modernity to change some of their traditions such as dancing on the shoulders of others in a palanquin. It makes them bereft of locus standi to condemn the egregious trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that brutalized Africans. Life is a thoroughfare of uncertainties, and thus it will not be appropriate to jettison the African indigenous political system in favour of western liberal democracy which is failing us. The successes of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Paul Kagame of heretofore civil war-ridden Rwanda make me believe liberal democracy is a necessary evil. The above-mentioned leaders were both accused of being autocratic. The thoroughgoing marriage between liberal democracy and chieftaincy in Ghana must be critically re-examined. Shalom!